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Opinions Wanted I fired a customer

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Framing Queen, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Framing Queen

    Framing Queen CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    A new customer informs me that she is very picky about her art and framing. "Excellent, you've come to the right place, because I'm picky about my work product."

    Among other things, she wants to be certain that there are no labels on the back and that the dust cover cut line is even all the way around the frame. Done and done.

    She came in to pick it up and immediately turned it over. There was a faint green production (roller) line on the dust cover paper. "This is unacceptable. I want a new frame because now there will be holes in it, and I want you to insure that the paper is all one color."

    You might guess where I went with this one. Can someone top this story? LOL:icon9:
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  2. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oy, what is that person's malfunction???

    Were the hooks on the front or the back of the frame?
  3. Framing Queen

    Framing Queen CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    LOL ... AND, the other excuse was that simply replacing the dust cover would leave "glue" on the frame. I told her to come back in twenty minutes so that I could remove her artwork and give her a refund.
  4. nikfrz

    nikfrz SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Cant top that one, because my customer didnt want new frames. Had one recently though, that didnt like the blue lineco on back of her frames. She wanted the nice black paper and nothing else was exceptable. After I regained my composure, she has been one of my best customers recently.
  5. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I would have said Im sorry. Good bye. no refund for them. She is already un happy. nothing will make her happy, keep the money!!!
  6. Classic Art Bob

    Classic Art Bob SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Good for you. Tell her to take a hike.
  7. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Wait, this wasn't Jack Nicholson from As Good As It Gets, was it?
  8. framelady64

    framelady64 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Good for you .No customer is worth that kind of aggravation.I would have done the same thing and been tempted to say some not nice words.
  9. hangupsgallery

    hangupsgallery MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Why not just take the paper off and put some new right back on....how would she ever know?
  10. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh Steve, someone like this will know.
  11. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I can just imagine the scene. Have some guy in a tux like those wine guys in fancy restaurants that show you the label on the bottle of wine before they give you the cork to sniff (or whatever - LOL) (I have never been in a restaurant like that, thank God!)- you bring out this guy dressed like a butler who is holding a piece of backing paper in his white-gloved hands.

    "Does Madam approve of this piece of paper, or shall I open a new roll?"

    "You're fired!"
  12. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    I've had a couple customers who were neurotically
    obsessive (is that redundant?) about such details.
    We're very particular about the quality of our framing,
    but this one fellow took his home, then sat and
    stared at it for hours. Finally brought it back and
    said it drove him bonkers how crooked it was.
    The mats were perfectly square, the frame was
    perfectly square, but he was bothered by the
    way that the line of all the mat window corners
    didn't line up exactly with the line of the frame
    corner. It was 1/64th of an inch difference when
    I measured it.

    We did all we could to make sure it was just right,
    but still he obsessed. Finally, I told him that with
    picture framing, there's a certain allowance for that
    kind of difference, and his frame was well within
    that range. For some reason, that worked.

    I'm thinking that you could tell this lady there
    will be an extra charge on her jobs if you have
    to take more time than usual. You could tell
    her it helps to pay for your PITA bread. :p
  13. Elaine

    Elaine SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I can, but...

    I can top the story, but it would take too much time to tell you the story! The end result... I told the customer she was welcome to pick up her projects. She did, acted like nothing had transpired. I immediately called my local frameshop friends who I surmised she might go to and told them the story... I told them, that if she came in, to tell the customer that they refer that type of work to Long Lake ;-)) I asked them to have a camera ready to take a picture of "the look" or be able to describe it to me in detail. ;-)) I've only fired a couple of customers ini 9 years, but they were a pleasure!

  14. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    I had one who claimed to be a retired framer, and said he expected a perfect job.....ok, no problem.

    When he picked up the piece he took a magnifying glass ( no *****) and started "checking" the join mitres...need less to say I was amazed at
    this and watched as he spent about 10 minutes going over every inch of the job.

    Finally he showed me a slight veriation in the wood grain and seemed unhappy about it.....

    My wife was hanging back waiting for me explode into rant...all I said to the guy was that wood is a natural product and some variation is normal, just like that spot on you arm that more mole speckles on it than the rest of your arm, so why did you not reject that arm ?...He looked at me like I was outer space, picked up his piece and walked out.......hope he never comes back and I wonder if really was a retired framer???
  15. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    It is never a loss to lose such idiots.

    You'll save yourself lots of Valium and therapy if you dump them at the very start.
  16. kdub

    kdub CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Of all people, you'd think he'd know and understand the ins and outs of framing and that it can't be perfect. I've had customers who get their face about an inch from the picture and run a finger over every inch of the frame and glass as if they're inspecting gnats testic***. It's a shame that these people are out there but at least they are the minority.
  17. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    I fired one last month for verbal abuse directed towards my staff and myself. He began by demanding to see me because a staff member had called him by his first name. It went downhill from there, accusing us of cheating him, allegedly changing the design, smiling (smirking) at him, and so on. He was obviously mentally ill and kept referring to his war record for some reason. Several of us made sure he left the shop without harming anyone. He was told never to come back. His wife came back a few days later, picked up his work, paid the bill, and didn't say a word.

    I'm getting too old for this.
  18. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Doesn't it feel good to say something like............ "I hope your next framer will do as good a job as I did"
  19. tamip

    tamip CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Opinions Wanted I fired a customer

    Sign I would like to post for these folks:

    Picture Framing = $75 per hour
    Psychiatric Services = $175 per hour.

    The pharmacy is right next door. They have drugs for these type of problems.
  20. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Thanks for the smile. :thumbsup:

    That fellow I mentioned was a retired detective from
    the Portland police department, so he must have
    been used to pouring over every little detail. A couple
    years after the framing muddle, he wound up in the
    nursing home with Alzheimer's. I wondered if maybe
    he was losing his ability to direct his thoughts at the
    time we did the framing, and compensated for it
    by obsessing over the things in his immediate
    environment. Then again, could be he was born
    that way. :icon11:
  21. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Did you get to cut the work out of the frame?

    I made it to that stage once. The lady just kept barking at me while I casually reached for my bladed and flipped the piece over. I had just began to cut the back off and she snapped, "what are you doing!"

    I explained to her that I required all my clients to be completely satisfied. When they are not, I keep trying until they are satisfied. At this point I was certain that there was nothing that I could do to satisfiy so I was going to cut her art out and hand it to her. She became satisfied at that point.
  22. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've done the same, Jay, with the same result. Some people have nothing better to do than to negatively engage you and as soon as they see that you won't play their game they cower.
  23. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I just did that 2 weeks ago with a carpenter!
  24. evartpat

    evartpat PFG, Picture Framing God

    I had to go toe to toe with an architect last week. One of those people that is accustomed to getting their way through intimidation.

    Little did he realize, the more someone pushes me, the more I channel my inner Nazi B##ch...:p

    He backed down and was quite polite when he picked up his stuff, though I will be surprised if I ever see him again.

    When I was in Denver, there used to be this ultra-picky and totally unreasonable customer that...I swear...used to make the circuit of the frameshops in the greater Denver Metro area, being fired from one shop to the next. I remember discussing this same customer with two other shops in the area...:smileyshot22:
  25. Framing Queen

    Framing Queen CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Well, it wasn't just the dust cover. OH NO! The FRAME now had to be replaced too because there would be "glue and holes" in it. I have never had the opportunity to experience this type of ignorance in the 15 years in this business. But, I do feel some type of weird comfort knowing I sent her to Michael's! :)
  26. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You might have just bankrupted them!

  27. Pangolin

    Pangolin SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have a cusotmer who I often let use the oops frames from the pile in the back room. This last time we were designing several pieces, she saw that the oops frames had torn off paper and atg on them from when they had been taken apart from their original orders. She seriously asked me if I was going to put paper on the back of the frames to cover up the atg and paper shreds. I looked at her and said "don't I always?" She had to think for a second, and then laughed and realized how dumb a question that was.

    I've even put paper on the backs of metal frames at the request of the customer, but not one has complained about the color of the paper!
  28. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    I want red paper on the back of mine to match the wall it will hang on..so there!
  29. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  30. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    We have a lot of people with engineering backgrounds in this area, due to the computer hardware and software industry, and some of these people will do just what you described. People who work in the computer industry are the last people qualified to lecture someone about quality workmanship and defect-free manufacturing.
  31. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  32. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    As you did, sometimes it is better to just walk away from one problem before it turns into an even bigger one.

    Thankfully not all customers are like that. I just finished a med. sized frame for a loyal customer, that somehow warped by the time he went to hang it. (It was the 3rd one of a 4 pc. suite) After trying everything in my bag of tricks, I simply made him a new frame / no problem. He said not to throw out the warped frame, because he had a much smaller piece to bring in and that I probably could cut it down and use it on the small piece and thus not be out so much money. Customers like that make up for the other PIA ones. :D

    Hope you get many more of the kind we all love. :beer:
  33. Judge Roy Bean

    Judge Roy Bean Grumbler in Training

    I have one that makes me show her exactly how many feet we will be using on each frame, math and all. Every time the math and price match 100%.

    Another new customer tried to pay with a third party check. When I refused to take it he became irate. "I don't know why this is a problem? The other shop let me leave orders there for months at a time with no deposit!"

    The other shop went out of business.
  34. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    As accommodating as I am to customers, I wouldn't have done so with this gem.

    They are clearly looking for excuses to have frames re-done. If they warned you in advance that slight production lines in the dust cover paper would be a problem, then that's one thing, but that she wants you to cut a new frame because SHE is mentally unbalanced is unreasonable.

    At this point, you are losing the customer no matter what. It's just a matter of whether or not you lose the deposit.

    Ouch, what a "customer".
  35. Beveled

    Beveled SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Cut her loose! She can be someone elses problem. You'll spend more time trying to cater to her than she'll spend money in your store.
  36. MabSadie2

    MabSadie2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Alright, this one is not a topper, because it was cheap, but it was definitely a head scratcher. Guy comes in with a readymade frame and a picture of himself on a boat holding a fish he caught. He just wants a mat cut to fit, but wants to cover as little as of the picture as possible. No problem, we only cover less than 1/16 anyway...

    He comes in to pick it up and he wants it redone because the horizon line is not straight. "Sorry," he says, "But I'm an engineer and this will drive me crazy."

    "But....you're on a boat." We only covered a wee bit of picture, so there is no room to tilt the darn thing. I cut him a new mat, have to cover 1/2" of picture to make the horizon straight and now he is so tipped in the photo he looks like he is about to topple sideways. He comes back in to pick it up and then complains that HE is not straight. Again, with the engineer thing. It's YOUR photograph. Take it home and photoshop yourself straight, I'm not a freakin magician. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.
  37. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My back is killing me from bending over backwards for this customer I've been dealing with for the last 3 weeks!!

    First off.......she wants 1 week turn around....FINE I can do that
    Nothing but problems with her....
    Yesterday she brought back an order I did..saying I put the wrong frame and mat on her picture.......NOT POSSIBLE......and she decides to pick out a new frame......WHATEVER.....She obviously changed her mind once she got home......:fire:

    ~She also picks up the 3 25x32 pics that are going to hang in her daughters lawyer office.......I tell her........I used wall buddies on the back to ease in the installation......these will self level and you wont have them swinging and have to straighten them all the time.....

    I come in to a phone call this morning that her daughter wants wire..Her bosses wont let her put that many holes in the wall.........ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

    ....Ok.....I explain to her that she is going to still need 2 hangers even with wire.......these are real heavy......which she proceeds to tell me that she has HUGE oil paintings that have wire and they are just fine..
    I told her to bring them in.....I'll do what she wants...
    20 minutes ago she called to tell me that she has a friend that has a huge regional office........and she has HUGE MAhogany frames and she asked her to take them off the wall and see how they were hung....and they are with wire..........:faintthud:

    Apparently 12 years framing and I have No idea what Im talking about! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  38. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I hope disliking wallbuddies doesn't make one a difficult client. I won't sell them anymore and don't trust em for several reasons.
  39. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Its not about disliking wall buddies..........at all.......ITs about the fact
    that she thinks she knows better and is going to take the word of a
    FRIEND that has never EVER EVER framed a picture in thier LIFE!!

    I'm making her sign something when she comes in...saying that I'm not responsible for anything that happens to these frames! :fire:
  40. MabSadie2

    MabSadie2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Actually, I am even more bothered by friends that have framed pictures. When I was a nube, we framed this huge laminated map. It weighs about two pounds, mounted to foam core. There's a brace wire, but the customer is carrying the thing around by the top rail. So it pops up. He comes back. We pop it back in and then the lecture... My friend who used to work in a frame shop said there is no way this should ever happen under any circumstances.....

    Okay. It's a piece of aluminum, it's 64" long and 1/2" wide. Of course, this wouldn't be an issue if you'd let us install the steel brace as we recommended, but you declined to spend the $20. This is perfectly acceptable for your needs, just don't carry it by the top rail. Use the wire. It's physics.
  41. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I still use them on panoramics with acrylic. Just framed a 72" x 15" piece. They are still handy for that but for heavy things I've lost my confidence too.
  42. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jay, is it the Wallbuddies you don't trust, or the hangers they provide?
    What are the reasons?
    :cool: Rick
  43. annaluna

    annaluna SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Nik, sounds like she needs a big ol' HIGH FIVE!!!!
  44. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Would you believe that she left me calling me sweetie and doll.....and telling me what a great job I did for her?!! :faintthud:
    Here MOOD SWINGS are giving me WHIPLASH! :nuts:
  45. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    The hangers. The brackets are great. They are good and strong! Customers, and once even my wife, sure can't seem to figure them out. I would walk through this trial if the hangers weren't junk. For lightweight items they seem fine even though those things require this type of system the least. For heavier items the hanger pulls out of the wall until it touches the back of the frame. I swear when I look at some of these things from the side, it looks like as much as 1/4 of the nail is no longer in the wall.

    I have very little faith in them and really regret some of the instillation that I have used them. I've abandoned them for safer options. The nail may stop coming out once the hanger touches the back of the frame but even at that it looks sloppy. Also, there have been times where clients have lost those hangers and opted for something else - ya know like finish nails or thumb tacks. I've gotten a few back once they fell as if it were my fault. If that continued on, I guess it arguably could be....
  46. Peter Bowe

    Peter Bowe CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I agree that the hangers are the weak link in the wallbuddies system. We use them rarely for commercial installs but when we do we hang them on #8 trusshead screws in wall anchors.

    If we are doing the hanging we would be more likely to use cleats or ring hangers. Customers on the other hand want to use wire - two point systems confuse and frighten them. Wallbuddies are hard to explain and easy to screw up - particularly the hangers.
  47. James Murray Scott

    James Murray Scott Grumbler


    At one time or another everyone in business has had to deal with some of these experiences but there seems to be an unfair number that attach them selves to the professional picture framer.

    But at the end of the day I have to ask, "Are you all nuts, why would anyone want to be a picture framer? “

    Maybe this should be a new thread.

    Murray Scott
    Super Plak
  48. MabSadie2

    MabSadie2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well look on the bright side. I'd rather be a picture framer giving refunds than a tiler giving refunds on a $10K ceramic tile floor.

    I think people have a strange expectation of value. The customer that inspired this thread for example, is particularly bizarre. Is she going to take the picture off the wall and stare at the dustcover color variation all day? If the dustcover had a perfectly even color, would it still look that way in one, two or ten years? Who knows? It's a dustcover, function over form.
  49. AnneL

    AnneL SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You could have told her there would be no glue residue because you don't use glue. Would have been interesting to hear her reply to that.

    Actually, as far as nutty or demanding customers go, our photography customers beat the framing ones hands down. Makes me wonder some days why we are still sell photography.
  50. Artistic Framer

    Artistic Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Well, the thread got hijacked from this morning, BUT I was laughing all day until a customer came in to pick up. I opened his piece, he got real close to the art, lifted his glasses up, and asked "do you have a magnifying glass?" UGH!! :fire:
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